292 – Psalm 12 – Intro
Psalm 12:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Help, [Yahweh], for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
2 They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May Yahweh cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
4 Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
We know from this Psalm’s title that King David penned it, then sent it to the Chief Musician. David’s opening sentence in this eight-verse Psalm is shocking and attention-grabbing. I found myself asking, “Ceases? What does it mean the godly man ceases?”. So I looked it up in the Hebrew Lexicon. According to the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, its first definition is, “come to an end, be no more”, which fits the textual context here quite well. Of course, if I would have simply read the second sentence in the first verse any doubt of the word’s meaning would be removed. The “godly man”, also referred to in verse one as the faithful, disappears from among the living! Does that mean they die off? Where do they go?
Look at the very next word, but before you do I warn you, it’s very disturbing! It’s the word “they” in verse two. Why do I say the word “they” is disturbing? Because, if it refers to the “godly man” or the men talked about in verse one it indicates a change in them. The godly didn’t die, they weren’t driven into exile or defeated in battle. Verse two seems to indicate they departed or drifted away from righteousness. If that’s true, it’s sad.
Maybe there is another possibility. Maybe the word “they” at the start of verse two doesn’t have an antecedent. Maybe “the wicked” are simply implied by the word “they” and the following descriptions of what “they” do. Either way, David is communicating that there is a significant vacuum of godly men in the world around him.
Let’s consider verse two again. It says, “They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak”. That’s it? What’s the big deal? Why would David call out a group of people who are “speaking idly” and doing so with “flattering lips and a double heart”? If we read on in this Psalm we find out that’s not all they are guilty of, but there is something to consider. Plans, wicked or not are communicated through the use of words. Words can be used to bless, to curse, to deceive. Words are very powerful. I think most of the time they are more powerful than we realize.
David petitions Yahweh to intervene and “cut off all flattering lips”. It’s kind of graphic, but David is asking God to essentially stop them in their tracks. Look at the second half of that verse. These people are self-confident. They are convinced they’re smarter than everyone else and will prevail. Verse four reveals these people believe they are accountable to no one. But is that true? I mean, if they are all unbelievers anyway are they really accountable to God for what they say?
Matthew 12:36 (NKJV)
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Though we may not be in league with these bad actors, I think it’s a good idea to remember Psalm 19:14.
Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O [Yahewh] my strength and my Redeemer.
Others may be aware of our words, but God knows not only what we say, but what we think. This verse is a prayer that Yahweh would find our words and thoughts acceptable to God. I’m not sure we are aware that He knows every word and every thought. Sometimes we may operate under the false assumption that there are times when God isn’t paying attention to little Ole insignificant me.
That couldn’t be further from the truth Yahweh is all-knowing, remember? He’s not keeping a scorecard in order to beat us down. He loves us and wants what’s best for us. And what’s best for us is Him! When you and I are in right relationship with Him and our words/thoughts please Him there is peace.
Yahweh is worthy, oh so worthy of righteous thoughts and words from us. He is worthy of all Praise (words), Worship (words), and adoration (words)!